ARC: The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss – 4 Stars

Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss
Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Publication date: December 9, 2014

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

Book Synopsis:

If you’ve found yourself almost inconsolable after your pet died, please know that you re normal. If you’ve found that your family and friends don t seem to understand the level of your grief, please know that, too, is normal. Without comparing our relationships with our pets to those with people, we know that, because of the unique emotional relationships we have with our pets, their deaths produce a level of pain that is difficult to describe. If you relate to any or all of these sentences, this book is for you. We have been there, and most probably will be there again. We will be with you on this journey to help your heart deal with the absence of your cherished companion. Russell, Cole, and John Your relationship with your pet is special it s a bond that is very different than those that human beings share with each other. When a beloved pet passes away, people often resort to incorrect mechanisms to deal with the grief, such as trying to move too quickly past the loss (dismissing the real impact), or even attempting to replace the pet immediately. However, these are merely two myths out of six that the authors discuss and dismantle in The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss. Based on the authors Grief Recovery Method(r), this book addresses how losing a pet is different from losing a human loved one, and ultimately, how to move on with life.

My Review:

I was browsing through the new books for request over at Net Galley and came across this title and new I needed to request it.  I am a huge animal lover and the only point in my life that didn’t include one or many companion animals was the years I spent in college, even then I had a fish for a few months (the only pet allowed in dorm).  If you have pets it is natural that you are going to lose pets; be it to death, surrendering, re-homing or other reason.  This loss that we feel over the absence of our friend, no family member is just as devastating as any other sort of loss one can experience.  I’ve lost many good friends over the years and with sharing my life with a group of rapidly aging pet now, I know loss is going to be in my near future as well.  I needed to read this book.

There is a lot of good advice in this book, and I am inclined to look into their other titles on the topic of loss and grief they have available.  Readers need to come to this book with an open mind and be ready to put aside some of the cultural stereo types as to what is acceptable and appropriate behavior when it comes to the loss of a pet.  Some of the ideas made me a little uncomfortable, or perhaps I felt foolish when I thought of putting them into practice, but I realized that was just me coming to this from the idea of how we ‘should’ grieve a pet.  While I didn’t do all the work they suggested right then, I think I will give it a try next time I have to come to terms with letting a pet go and processing  their death.  Perhaps it will help.

I liked how the authors of this book respected the bond between pet, of any type, and their owner.  It felt that they truly wished to honor those connections that become so important in our lives.  Many of the ideas in these pages helped me to understand much of my past behavior and reactions to loss.  I am seeing some of the events of my past with a different light and I think I will also be a more compassionate person the next time I go to comfort someone else over their loss as well.

I liked how the book was structured as well.  It started the reader off slowly, encouraging them to re-read and take the process slowly.  The exercises start off rather analytic at first, which gives the griever a safe zone to start exploring the death and loss, and then the text moves into the deeper issues and has the reader face some of their stronger emotions in non-judgmental way.  The personal examples provided helped a lot as well, it gave the reader a way to see that the authors had themselves experienced a similar loss and had taken these steps too.  I think it helped the reader empathize and appreciate the advice being given better.

This is a helpful and thoughtful book.  I’m glad I read it and will draw upon what I learned the next time I am facing a loss of a furred or feathered friend.  Thank you.




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